College days don’t last forever and while you’re busy making the most out of your education, it’s important to think ahead and remember that in a short time, you’ll be out on your own.
The transition from college to working life can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. It can also be a little bit scary and intimidating. In order to make the transition smoother, here are some important life skills you can start honing while still in school:
If you were very active in high school, you probably got a good dose of this already. But college is another reality. When in high school, you lived at home, ate meals with the family and had someone to help structure your time for you. In college, that structure is a lot more loose. You have to decide whether to party with your friends or prepare for a big project that’s coming up. You have to decide if you can juggle a part-time job, a full course load and sports. Learning to realistically plan out your schedule and discover how much fits on your plate is a skill you’ll need throughout the rest of your life. Start learning when it’s best to say no and setting priorities in college so that you can reap the benefits of these time management skills when you’re on your own.
For a lot of students, college is the first time they’ve been faced with having to budget their money. Whether your parents are helping you out or you’re working a job to be able to pay for things, in the end, it’s you who has to know how much you have in your wallet. It can be tempting to spend money on nights out with friends, clothing, gadgets, expensive spring break trips and other things. It can also be challenging if your group of friends have more financial resources than you. In the end, you have to manage your resources and find ways to do the things you want to do without breaking the bank. This skill will be valuable when you land your first job, hunt for your first apartment or buy a car. You’ll need to be able to look at your resources realistically so you can end up with extra money in your account and not a load of debts.
Your classmates today are your first networking group in the working world. Learn to make not only friendly but professional and intellectual connections with people. Have conversations about your ideas and dreams and different projects you’re interested in working on. The connections you make with your peers in this phase of life can have long-lasting effects in terms of getting and giving personal references for jobs, getting a heads up when a company is looking to fill a position you’d be perfect for, getting asked to participate in an exciting new project. Sharing ideas and building personal connections will always serve you in any scenario in life.
Though it’s important to value group work and learn how to network, there are certain things that you have to do on your own. Nobody can study for you or write your papers for you or take your final exams for you. Setting goals and prioritizing your activities in order to meet those goals is a big part of being successful. In the end, the only person who can realize your dreams is you and when you leave college, the distractions and sidetracks will be even more tempting. Learning to focus and achieve your goals is a skill that will help keep you on track throughout life.
Take advantage of your college years to hone these important life skills.
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